• A crowd of protesters gather while holding placards and flags during the demonstration at Adelaide's Victoria Square (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Organisers of a Black Lives Matter Rally in Adelaide say they won't rule out taking to the streets again despite being refused a COVID-19 exemption by the South Australian police.
By
Keira Jenkins

Source:
NITV News
12 Jun 2020 - 11:47 AM  UPDATED 12 Jun 2020 - 11:47 AM

Organisers of a second Black Lives Matter rally in Adelaide say they will meet with the South Australian Government after the state Police decided not to grant an exemption from Coronavirus restrictions for the event.

Permission was granted for a first rally last weekend, which was attended by about 6,000 people. Organisers said last weekend's rally was peaceful, with most people wearing masks, and social distancing. Police and organisers were also distributing hand sanitiser.

After organisers flagged a second rally, SA Police told them their application for an exemption to Coronavirus restrictions might not be approved.

On Tuesday the SA Police commissioner announced that anyone who attends the second rally would run the risk of being fined.

Event organiser Jeanette Milera, from SOSBlakAustralia, said that they have agreed to meet with state Premier Steven Marshall to discuss the event but haven't ruled out taking to the streets again on Saturday.

"I'm still getting inboxes to the page asking if we're still going to rally and I've told people that the option is still open," Ms Milera said.

"We haven't cancelled the event, we have just postponed."

Waanyi and Garawa man Chris Crebbin said people would continue to protest and rally whether the police approve or not.

"People will be there to protest, and I do believe that people will be arrested and people won't be able to pay their fines because, because there's not that much money in the community at the moment," he said.

"But this does mean a lot, and we do know that we can make a change if our voices are heard. I don't think we're really being understood at the moment.

 Mr Crebbin attended the rally last weekend and will be going again on Saturday, despite the threat of fines.

"I will be out there," he said.

"I don't have a lot of money so let's hope I don't get fined because I might be inside for quite a while."

'Disappointed'

Mr Crebbin said he's disappointed that SA Police have decided to try to block the second rally from going ahead, considering the other activities that are currently allowed under South Australia's easing COVID-19 restrictions.

"They're just opening up the footy at the moment; they're letting a couple of thousand people in there, go into any shopping centre in South Australia at the moment, they're going to be full, people are queuing everywhere you go, buses are full," he said.

"We haven't had an active case in South Australia for what seems like ages. I know we were really good (at the last rally) we sanitised, pretty much everyone had masks on.

Mr Crebbin said safety was a priority at last weekend's event, and fining people for turning out this weekend is not the right course of action.

"We were trying to be as safe as we could be. I understand that people are worried about COVID-19, but saying that, this issue has been going on for far too long and it was the right thing to do, lots of people turned up.

"I'm really disappointed that they're not going to let it happen this week because we know our people are strong enough and passionate enough to get out there and do it again.

"But it seems like they're going to fine us and make us poorer than we already are just because we want to stand up for what is right."

Ms Milera said she's also disappointed but not surprised at the stance of the police, calling out what she sees as a double standard, giving the green light to 2000 people to attend a football match, but not allowing a second rally.

She said allowing an AFL game to have an exception, but not the rally, shows government disregard for important issues for Indigenous people.

"Our plight of police violence and injustices and inequality is [seen as] way less important than going to a footy game and drinking alcohol," she said.

"As an Aboriginal person I'm used to being told more or less to get in my box, but those days are over, I think Aboriginal people and black voices are saying 'no', we're sick of being told to get in our box, we want to come and sit at the table and be part of these discussions."